when the storms and passions of war have passed away, all countries now
overrun by the enemy shall be free to decide for themselves their future
form of democratic government.
" Mutual respect and honest conduct between nations is our chief desire.
We are determined to work with all peace-loving peoples in order that
tyranny and aggression shall be removed or, if need be, struck down wherever
it raises its head . . . We seek no advantages for ourselves at the cost of others,
" We affirm that, after the war, a World Organisation to maintain peace
and security should be set up and endowed with the necessary power and
authority to prevent aggression and violence."
Poland., for obvious reasons., was not mentioned in this Empire Declara-
tion, but, a few days earlier, Curtin, the Prime Minister of Australia, had
spoken of Poland and indeed had spoken firmly, reminding Great Britain
of the pledge she had given to that country.
ec No blows were struck at Australia when Germany marched into Poland,
but Australia knew that, in marching into Poland, Germany was marching
into a strategic area which was part of a considered plan of world domination.,
and that the attack on Poland was as much Australia's business as if the
very port of Sydney itself had been bombed by the Nazis.
"A pledge of honour had been given to Poland by Great Britain. That
pledge was espoused and supported by the people of Australia. They had
no material or territorial interests, it can be said, in what happened to Poland,
but they had in their very souls a clear view of the spiritual consequences
to them if the Nazis, by force, should take from Poland the security which
Britain and France had guaranteed Poland. And, therefore, in support of
the vow of Britain, Australia declared itself at war with Germany."
A week after the announcement of the Empire Declaration, on May 24
the British Prime Minister gave a review of England's foreign policy and
again spoke of Poland. Although he reiterated the opinion of his Govern-
ment, regarding the " regulation of the Polish eastern frontier/3 and that
" she should receive compensation at the expense of territories belonging
to Germany," the general tone of his speech was more conciliatory on
the whole. It seemed as if he was endeavouring to satisfy both parties,
Poland and Russia as well. He emphasised " we must take care to say
nothing that would make agreement between these two countries more
difficult in the future "—a remark which was to be the key-note of the
subsequent debate in the House of Commons and the House of Lords,
the members of which pressed the question of benefiting Poland at the
expense of Germany almost exclusively, avoiding the essential question
of settling the Polish-Russian dispute.
The British Prime Minister then spoke :
" For a long time past the Foreign Secretary and I have laboured with all
our strength to try to bring about a resumption of relations between the
Soviet Government and the Polish Government which we recognise,
which we have always recognised since the days of General Sikorski. We
were conscious of the difficulty of our task and some may say we should
have been wiser not to attempt it. Well, we cannot accept that view. We
are the Ally of both countries. We went to war because Germany made
an unprovoked attack upon our Ally, Poland. We have signed a 20-year
treaty with our Ally, the Soviet Union, and this Treaty is the foundation